Benefits of Yoga: Body and Mind

Benefits of yoga aren’t only being able to bend your body into a pretzel.  All of us could afford to slow down. 

Allowing time to yourself to quiet the flurry of thoughts and decisions from the outside world, always makes us make better choices.

Having to make on the spot or quick decisions may make it seem like yoga or other meditational practices are not beneficial. I beg to differ.

I’m in a job in which postural injuries are so common. Some dentists have retired early for the pleasure of the golf course.  *Ehem* Not necessarily because they’ve made tons of money, but because they have difficulty continuing to carry out the physical duties of dentistry.

Sitting in a chair all day, bending your back and neck with little to no lumbar support can have devastating consequences on the body. The more repetitive the movement the higher the probability of injury. Trust me, we dentists repeat similar actions everyday for a prolonged time.

Many professions are similar to this so I’m sure learning some yoga poses will benefit you immensely. You don’t need to enroll in a class for life to enjoy the benefits of yoga. Go as slow or as fast as you want.

Yoga improves posture

The various poses (called asanas) in yoga, increase joint stability and lengthen muscle groups in tandem, leading to better posture. With a better posture we can breathe  better and release tension in our body.

Improves breathing

By breathing better we can better the amount of oxygen our body receives. In turn we better nourish our cells. Yoga increases circulation which leads to better endurance, and can improve your lung and heart function.

Can help to manage stress

Yoga helps me to manage stress. It doesn’t mean as I’m trying to convince a patient to keep their mouth open for the 100th time that I switch into downward dog next to the dental chair.
By remembering my emotional and mental state while I do yoga, I’m able to sometimes reduce my anxiety. Some studies have shown that yoga can decrease cortisol (primary stress hormone) levels leading to a decrease in stress and anxiety.

Can improve sleep quality

It has also been shown that yoga can improve sleep quality. It allows me to fall asleep a lot quicker than when I wasn’t incorporating yoga in my routine.  Thinking of scheduling patients for the next day, errands I need to run, the terror of forgetting an important meeting suddenly dominate my mind as I’m settling in beneath the covers. One biological hypothesis is based on a study which showed that yoga increases melatonin secretion which regulates your sleep and wake cycles.

As I said start with a few poses if you’re up to it. Maybe take a class in your area to see if it’s something you may want to continue.

Do you do yoga?

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